Most people take only transient notes

In contrast to Evergreen notes, Most people use notes as a bucket for storage or scratch thoughts. These are very convenient to write, but after a year of writing such notes, they’ll just have a pile of dissociated notes. The notes won’t have added up to anything: they’re more like fuel, written and discarded to help the author process their ongoing experiences.

Fleeting notes are valuable scratchpads to temporarily support working memory, but Knowledge work should accrete, so we should view them as “messy-thought” inputs for the “neat-thought” notes they’ll inform (Khoe).

This is one reason why Note-writing practices are generally ineffective.


Khoe, M.-L. (2016, December 21). Messy thought, neat thought. Retrieved September 17, 2019, from Khan Academy Early Product Development website:

Last updated 2023-07-13.